Successful Observation of
Decoration Day - 1881

Waterloo Courier
Waterloo, Iowa
1 Jun 1881, Page 1

Remembering the Dead!

Full Text of the Oration by Rev. O. E. Baker -- Scenes and Incidents, &c.

     Last Monday morning dawned clear and almost cloudless, giving promise of a fine day for the observance of the ceremonies connected with the decoration of the graves of our dead soldiers.  At an early hour people began to come in from the country and among them many old soldiers who reported at the Park House, and received appropriate badges, according to the branch of the service with which they were connected.  Meanwhile our citizens were not idle and many of the business blocks were decorated with flags and bunting.  During the forenoon nothing was done except to receive the veterans and complete the arrangements for the afternoon.  The following is the roster of veterans:

Abraham Yount
R. O. Backus
J. R. Lawrence
I. F. Andrews
C. P. Jeannins
D. Snyder
C. South
O. T. Martin
W. H. Angell
John S. Larmon
S. P. Phillips
H. A. Herrick
Wm. Banton
L. A. Campbell
Wm. S. Lemley
A. Lincoln
John Thompson
Benj. Starr
Jas. D. Place

Chas. McGinley
J. J. Lightenhome
J. Ennis
S. Welker
S. F. Hagan
Jos. Shuler
Chas. Brunn
D. R. Weaver
Jno. Dignan
Jacob Zannuck
Henry Myers
G. Shuler
L. H. Bronson
G. W. Gardner
W. D. Thayer
J. B. Hurley
J. W. Brown
H. E. Camp
J. B. Edwards

Levi Brown
Jos. Schwartz
Mason Hale
Henry Reinoehl
G. W. Chatfield
H. B. Eighmey
Henry Bartlett
B. F. Aukerman
Jos. T. Bolt
J. Lance
J. T. Edgington
D. G. Ellis
David Johnson
Henry L. Hazel
O. C. Miller
E. R. Travis
C. B. Hamilton
C. D. Becker
A. Ohler.

      At 1:30 p.m. the procession was formed on Fifth street, east side, by marshal of the day Shoemaker and his aids, in the following order:

Waterloo Cornet band.
Ascalon Commandery, Knights Templar.
Waterloo Encampment, I. O. O. F.
Catholic Societies.
Jefferson Martial Band.
Fire Department.
Lodges of A. O. U. W.
Martial Band.
Waterloo Guards.
'Bus drawn by four grey horses and containing veterans.
Decorating Committees of Ladies in Carriages.
President of the Day, Orator, Reader and Chaplain.
Mayor and City Council.
Floral Wagons.
Citizens in Carriages.

     The line of march was as previously announced.  The procession was a very large one, some estimating that nearly one thousand persons took part in it, and the various societies, in their handsome uniforms, and the fine drill shown by some of them, together with the veterans, in the military precision of their movements, made a splendid appearance.

     On reaching the park it was found that a large number had already gathered there, the seats being then nearly filled.  There were seats arranged for 1400 persons, and, estimating from this, the audience must have numbered fully 3,000 people.  On the stage, which was decorated with flags, was placed a monument, also suitably decorated, on which was inscribed the names of the dead from this vicinity who are buried away from home.  Beside it stood a stack of muskets, and at its base two swords were crossed.  The task of arranging this monument was in charge of H. G. Fish.

     After a patriotic selection by the band, Rev. A. C. Manwell, the chaplain of the day, offered prayer.  He thanked God for the spirit of patriotism, the love of liberty and the constitution, as evinced by the going forth of our soldiers to battle, many of whom sleep in southern and unknown graves.  He asked the blessings of Omnipotence upon the homes which were bereaved and scarred by war, and also upon the soldiers who braved the dangers of battle and when victory was won returned to their homes.  He also asked that this spirit of patriotism should be instilled in the youth of the land, so that while the mountains stand and the rivers seek the sea, these fallen comrades shall be held in everlasting memory.

     The glee club, composed of Messrs. Balliett, Frink, Gilbert and Artman, with S. C. Gilbert at the organ, sang an appropriate song, entitled Decoration Day, after which Hon. Geo. Ordway, president of the day, made a short address.

     He said that, thirty or forty years ago, the student of American history might ask if there was any spirit of self-sacrifice and devotion to our country living in the bosoms of the people.  And this question was asked and answered in the negative, for it seemed that through mercenary motives and greed of gain men had grown effeminate and weak, and there was no patriotism in them.  But, when the war broke out this spirit of self-sacrifice sprang up so as to overcome all others, and men felt that they must give themselves for their country.  Every soldier who went and passed through the war and is with us to-day, was an example of that spirit, every soldier who went and gave up his life did it through the influence of that spirit, and we are met to-day, led by their comrades, to commemorate the spirit manifested by those who gave up their lives that we might live.

     He then introduced Mr. C. W. Mullan, who read the dead roll.  This roll, with the additions to it, have been published heretofore.  It contained 179 names, and, after reading, the following were added:

J. Oliver Lichty, Co. A., 21st Iowa Infantry, burned to death in the railroad accident near Fergus Falls, Minn., March 31st, 1881.
Jacob Kimball, Penn. Cavalry, died at Fortress Monroe, May 24, 1862.

     After music by the band, Rev. O. E. Baker, the orator of the day, was introduced and delivered the following address:


Ladies and Gentlemen:

     "Honor to whom honor is due," said an inspired philosopher, giving utterance to a principle of universal recognition.  We are met, on this occasion, in the exercise of this principle, to commemorate the character, deeds, achievements of father, husband, brother, son, who, in the late contest with rebellion offered their lives for the life of the nation, -- their nation and ours.

     Estimated by what it involves no civil occasion could mean more, nor awaken a deeper interest.  We celebrate on each fourth of July the event of the nation's birthday.  To-day we celebrate the rescue of the nation when it had grown out of mere infancy into vigorous maturity, but had fallen into imminent peril.  Let us not mistake the legitimate object of this meeting. -- We are not here in memory of all the dead.  In a more quiet way each family or friend has decorated or will the graves of friend and friend.  We are here expressly in memory of deceased soldiers, endeared friends of us all and of a whole country.

     We are not here to lavish soldier honors indiscriminately.  It would be a relief not to be compelled to discriminate, but "honor to whom honor is due."  Soldiers there were, in name, even in the Union army, who shirked danger and responsibility; or possibly braved the hardest of hardships incident to the war, but who did so from lust of gain, office, power, -- self-interest paramount, the country's good secondary and subordinate.  None need envy such soldiers the honors which a loyal people may award them.

     We are not here to arraign and criminate those who fought for, aided and abetted rebellion and secession.  The war is past.  We would leave the rebel dead in the hands of the Judge of all the earth, with whom are both justice and mercy.  The yet living rebel we would approach with the olive branch of peace and reconstruction, -- the olive branch behind the nation's constitution. -- We are not here, be it distinctly understood, to award true soldier honors upon the best of those who fought against their country.  Many there were, no doubt, upon whom it is just to look as did the Saviour upon many of His persecutors, -- "They know not what they do;" but of the rebel army as such, it must be said in justice, they purposely fought for the establishment of State sovereignty as against the sovereignty of the whole people; for the severance, through the vitals, of a nation which can live one and only one, and for the extension and perpetuity ofa system of oppression the world, civil and non-civil as well, had with one voice condemned.

     On the other hand the Union army, as a whole, however many the exceptions, went forth to the terrible struggle in defense of a government with institutions morally excellent, politically wise and just, and of the people, the whole people and their successors, and absolute necessity.  Every such soldier, dead or living, deserves peculiar honors.

     Upon the graves of those who have finished their life-work grateful people all over our land join us to-day in distributing nature's silent but significant symbols of sweet, immortal honors; and if from the modesty which praises not to the face, we withhold befitting tokens of gratitude and respect from the loving, loyal soldiers among us, there will not be found wanting mindful, country-loving citizens to confer these tokens when they have passed to the ranks of the fallen comrades.  Ours is no blind hero worship, but the instinctive and no less rational endeavor to preserve afresh and perpetuate the memory of a loyal soldiery in the light of the priceless benefactions they have bequeathed to us and ours.  Let us recount some of these benefactions, in view of which it is and ever may be the duty of the nation, and for the public weal, that they annually bring back into fresh life the events of the memorable years, 1860 to 1865.

     Our country's was the first successful effort at self-government, by and for the whole people.  The old country aristocracies and monarchies had looked upon the effort as a wild experiment, destined to summary and inglorious failure, and the opening of the rebellion was the set time for the fulfillment of their prophecies.  True, the United States constitutional government was now eighty years of age when its strength was to be tested, but what were those years compared to those of gray old England, Germany, France -- a thousand years older!  The young Jonathan was yet a blushing, the old mother country said "impudent," youth.  Upon the breaking out of rebellion even the most friendly of foreign powers looked doubtfully upon the question of our survival, while those interested in our overthrow gave significant glances of mingled gratification and greed.  They did not quite, as since in the case of the great Turkey, meet and council upon the distribution of the slices, as the  carving should go on; but doubtless would have made themselves ready for the repast.  And, did we not hold our breath in distressing suspense as the scales tipped now this way and now that, while the deadly contests raged at Bull Run, at Shiloh, at Gettysburg?

     Well, why is it that for fifteen years we have breathed easily, slept quietly, labored confidently?  The nation's credit grown into world-wide respect; our commerce unobstructed and increasing; every branch of business prospering; law and order reigning throughout our borders, and the old countries committing to our soil the choicest of their scions, and in prodigious numbers? -- The answer is at hand.  On the divinity side God Almighty's faithfulness to His covenant; with our fathers; and on the human side, the patriotism and valor of our soldiery, with the sympathy and helping hands of loyal men, loyal and noble women, and loyal, shouting buoyant boys and girls all over the land.

     Contrast, if you can, between a united whole government, with a strength of national wealth, a lustre of learning and enterprise, and a power of self-defense which now all other nations fear and respect; between this on the one hand, and a divided country with no natural division lines, weakened into subserviency to foreign powers, subjected, a people of one blood, to perpetual broils and repeated fratricidal wars, and the moral deadly blight of all these upon our institutions of church and State, -- draw the contrast if you can, and you have in bold relief, occasion abundant, for honoring, in whatever way possible, the strong, true, born men who stood to helm and rope and carried our ship of State safe through the fierce and protracted tempest of rebellion.

     We are not Americans simply, but cosmopolitan as well.  We ought to be, and with our abundance and independence can afford to be.  And, from the fall of Richmond, and the collapse of secession, universal humanity have taken hope.

     Doubtless government by aristocracy is right and good in countries having defective resources for self-government.  Monarchy is vastly better than anarchy.  We can pray for the success of these forms of government, when and where they are the best the people are capable of having.  With improved conditions, government by the people becomes first possible, then practicable, then imperative.  To such a people government without representation becomes oppressive, offensive, insulting, and sooner or later they will throw off their yokes and assert their rights.  Multitudes of the old world have come to this stage.  These looked on while the problem of free government was being solved in America, incorporating the elements of civil independence as success twined on the side of freedom.  Growing discontent and solicitude are being rapidly diffused throughout Europe.  We have no word of sympathy nor forbearance for the reckless insubordination and communism which obstruct and threaten the maintenance of just rule in such countries, but do rejoice over every substantial progress toward representative government the world over, and to this the success of the army of freedom in America gave the mightiest impulse.

     The manly, moral characteristics of our loyal soldiery, and the favorable bearings of these upon public morality and religion give us unquestioned ground for often resurrecting, so to speak, the loyal deceased soldiers and marked events of the years of 1860 and 1865.

     Most wars have been for personal fame, or greed of conquest and power.  War is a thing too intense and impressive not to stamp the character of its ruling purpose upon its supporters; hence, war, cruelty, corruption, moral degeneration, have generally wrought together.  Soldiers came to signify lawlessness.  Who of us did not fear, as we were brought to contemplate war in our own country, civil war of the worst type; who of us did not fear that, from battle ground and fields of blood would sweep over our land a very atmosphere of moral corruption poisoning the most vital elements of national life?  But who that has studied the war and its sequel, has not been filled with grateful astonishment at the return of the loyal soldier to his family and business, -- the same loving husband, father, brother, son; the same quiet, law-abiding citizen, and the same devoted christian, as when accustomed home duties were suspended for the rescue of country in peril?  Ours was a war of principle, freedom:  God-given, natural, blood-bought, was the struggle; American and universal progress checked, and the fates implored to bear the world back again into darkness. -- Right and wrong, eternal absolute right and wrong were to wrestle, with life or death the issue, and with no obscurity of faith, and no violence to right conscience the loyal soldier took his place.

     The character of righteous resistance to wrong, wrought or intensified the character of the men, and he could war, and then lay down his arms and seize the plow or take to his business or profession, all by the self same principle of true manhood.  No nobler spectacle was ever witnessed, no stronger proof of the genuine greatness of any people.  Now citizen, now soldier of veteran type, and now, victory won, citizen again!  If the old world would know our military powers, let them enumerate our citizenship.  If they would know the strength of our citizenship, let them calculate the forces, material, intellectual, domestic, religious, of our business men, our farmers, our schools, colleges, our homes and our churches.  Throughout all these departments of American society, the one principle of loyalty to right, and personal and public sacrifice for the good of the whole, is recognized.  A principle which can organize our whole people into an army invincible, and as easily turn them back again into a quiet and prosperous citizenship.  The standing army of the U. S. is the U. S. itself.  This fact, demonstrated first by our fathers of the revolution, and again by their sons, involves a safety to the nation and commends respect from abroad, most highly commendatory of the character of our soldiers, and marking the magnitude of their achievements.  It is a fact American independence involves, not simply political freedom, but the elements of progress in every department of public good.  State and church are essentially two, and the genius of our government may wisely propose to preserve the distinction; but they are nevertheless neighbors of very intimate relationship.  Both are constituted of the people and both will have the same general characteristics -- an aristocratic State will have an aristocratic church.  A free State promotes soul freedom upon every question of morals and religion.  Crowned kings and queens of the old world are not more solicitous over the growing spirit of independence than mitered bishops and archbishops of the State churches.  A broad, free, intelligent, vigorous State and church are absolute conditions to the possible development of any people, and no national event of history has contributed more largely to bringing about these ends than the established supremacy of the people by the late war.

     We have spoken of some general considerations, in view of which it becomes the people of our country to preserve afresh the memory of our soldiers and their achievements.  But this duty is not wholly objective, not wholly a duty to the soldier, living or dead, but the duty is subjective no less in the education it imparts to the living whole people.  The affectionate, admiring memory of the good, of whatever class, begets in us the character we admire in others.

     There are, latent in our natures, energies and generous sentiments which appear only feebly, if at all, under ordinary circumstances, but with the inspiration of suffering love, as there are flowers whose precious odors come after the crushing.  Love is the great power which elevates man into the highest, best types of being; but its highest proofs and potent influences are found in sacrifice, suffering, death, if need be, for the sake of others.  There was genuine philosophy in that saying of Jesus, "And I, if I be lifted up, (be exposed to the view of the world, with my wounds and in my blood) will draw all men unto me;" and in that saying of the apostle, "The captain of our salvation made perfect through suffering." --  The ancients placed their heroes among gods, and all people pay homage to those who bear upon their generous hearts the burdens of the people.  That charm in the name of mother -- and who has not felts its thrill? -- that charm of which poet and orator have spoken, comes not of the mere relation, nor from the announcement of her love, but from the numberless examples of her willing self-devotion and sacrifice for the objects of her care.  That our fathers of the revolution pledged not alone their sacred honors, but their lives, for the inauguration and maintenance of free government, energized their sons to resist secession; and now that our fathers and our brothers alike have paid the price of our redemption with their blood, now, to the last man and the last dollar requisite, this nation shall abide, one and indivisible, forever.  The walls of our national temple having been cemented by the blood of royal men, henceforth not a stone shall be removed to mar its granite front.

     Mark it, I speak not of patriotism without principle.  There is no honor in selfish, or even needless, suffering.  Men enough have dared, suffered, died -- no less than the martyrs for truth and right -- for personal honor, for revenge, for power, or as menial slaves to base, ambitious rulers, and who does them a reverence, and what savor of good has fallen from them to society?  War is justifiable only when a necessity, and when it can be presented on the same principle which underlies all the duties of civil life -- the principle which seeks the largest good on the whole; only when it can be so presented as that the losses in treasure and in life, all counted, shall be overbalanced by the benefits which shall accrue.  It is natural, therefore, that a just war should stimulate moral sentiment and enforce personal and public devotion for the right, and so, by its reflex influences, elevate a people to a stronger, better national life!  Hence, never before, perhaps, were the fountains of sympathy opened to such overflowing; never before such profusive liberality; never before so many and so indiscriminate agencies for good; never such faith and prayer in this nation, as during our country's recent baptism of suffering.  And, there have never been a fifteen years of such rapid and substantial progress in every department of the country's interests, as since the close of the war.  Our soil, enriched by the terrible flood, has borne a new abundance of fruit.

     The fact that any just war must be based upon the same principle as that which underlies all the duties of civil life, suggests another fact I cannot but name:  That hence the honor due to the soldier is shared by every loyal, sympathizing citizen.  Could our fallen comrades respond to the demonstrations of to-day, they would doubtless acknowledge how timely and bountiful the material contributions from home -- what a support the very name of home gave them, and of how, in the dark days of the campaign, their hearts were cheered by the many evidences of the loyalty and sympathizing of the people at home.

     Now let us ask, who shall not commingle in the memorial deeds of this day?

     1.  The southern people themselves, are dull students of events if they do not see by this time, that, painful as was the ordeal to their local pride, and disastrous as it has been to the cherished system of luxury, ease and caste, they and theirs, on the whole, are greatly benefited by the victory of the North.  That was a dangerous, unnatural growth upon the vitals of the South, and, painful as was the amputation by the Northman's sword, there are already signs of returning health which commend the skill and nerve of the surgeon.

     2.  People of the North, without party distinctions, should join in the grateful acknowledgment of this day.  That was not a Republican war, nor a Democratic war, but the war of liberty loving freemen.  Republicans and Democrats alike entered the same service, joined in the same struggle, famished in the same prison, poured their blood in the same bowl, or into the bosom of the same mother earth, sleep side by side in the same burying ground and to-day wear the same laurels from a government which knows only men and their rights.

     3.  Incoming immigrants, coming to this land as came our fathers centuries ago, should join in common.  American freedom and prosperity is the moral power which is yet to make freemen of the people whom they love but have left in their native countries.

     4.  Let the old man and the young man, the mother and the maiden and cheery, happy children all join in saying, all honor to the brave men who gave themselves for their country's rescue.

     Finally, the war is over!  May it never be repeated, never!  But, antagonism between right and wrong, between loyalty and patriotism, is not ended. -- Partisanism, race distinction, the heresy of State Sovereignty which has reared its serpent head at every critical juncture of the nation.  Monopolies, the liquor traffic and recklessness of law, these all mingle as poison in the blood of the nation, and can be eradicated only by the most rigid regimen.  Loyalty to principle will always be in demand and have its tests.  No less manhood is or will be wanted for the future honor and success of our government than in the dark days of the rebellion.  The same noble elements of character which constituted the soldier, and which we are proud to emphasize on all fit occasions, will be wanted in the halls of congress, in the chief magistrate of the nation, in the State legislatures of the several States, in city and village authorities and at thepolls.  Let us prize and cherish them, teach them to our children and write them where the stranger may read and admire.  And, may the government of these United States bear witness and demonstrate in all time that "Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord; and the people whom He hath chosen for His inheritance."

     We shall now presently go to the sleeping places and registry of the names of such fallen comrades as have fallen to our care and notice, and distribute as best we can, some of nature's sweetest and most significant symbols of character and immortal memory. -- The number of such comrades is not large, but a large history that would be which would record their enlistments, their partings from loved ones at home -- some of them to return no more -- their marchings, their battles, their hardships, their wounds and sickness, and their dying at last.

     I am requested by Fremont Encampment of your city, to acknowledge the gift, by the ladies of Waterloo, of the colors exhibited here to-day, and which repeat the significance of the colors tattered and torn, and which evince the yet abiding sympathy of the women of Waterloo, and an undivided North.

     I am reminded that the gift of these colors was referred to last year and accepted in words of fitting eloquence by one who was then a member of the encampment, but who now sleeps in yonder cemetery, and for whose grave beautiful floral tributes have been prepared.  I allude to that grand, good man, Rev. A. G. Eberhart.

     May the divine providence which has conducted our government through the past give it perpetual, undivided existence, and make it an abundant blessing to all the nations of the earth.

     After the address Mr. Matt. Parrott appealed to the people for contributions to the fund organized by the Iowa State Register in behalf of Mrs. Upright, the "Iowa Cornelia."  The collection amounted to $16.41, after which the meeting was closed by singing by the glee club, when the processions to the various cemeteries were formed as follows.

Fairview Cemetery.
Marshal. -- C. B. Stilson.
Chaplain. -- Rev. A. C. Manwell.
Escort. -- F. P. Walker, C. H. Horton, J. H. Frundt, Robt. Brown, C. E. Ree.
Decorating Committee. -- Misses Eva Faucher, Annie Lichty, Julia Day and Mattie Hilton.

Catholic Cemetery.
Marshal. - A Rosgen.
Chaplain. -- Rev. N. F. Scallon.
Escort. -- H. E. Merwin, J. LaBarre, G. A. Michael, G. W. Hafar, Robt. Hanna.
Decorating Committee. -- Misses M. Dunnwald, L. Ewald, J. Long, C. Crowley.

Waterloo Cemetery.
Marshal. -- H. H. Saunders.
Chaplain. -- Rev. E. N. Barrett.
Escort. -- W. W. Whitenack, N. E. Eldred, C. W. Lichty, Jno. Sine, P. S. Dorlan.
Decorating Committee. -- Misses Flora Washburn, Ella Nichols, Emma Logan, Carrie White.

Elmwood Cemetery.
Marshal. -- S. M. Hoff.
Chaplain. -- Rev. C. Welles.
Escort. -- E. Pickett, J. W. Krapfel, H. G. Fish, W. W. Edgington, W. Fisher.
Decorating Committee. -- Misses L. Latraee, Agnes Williams, Caro Crittenden, Minerva Myers.

     In addition to the decorating committees, the following ladies of the floral committee went to the several cemeteries:  To Waterloo cemetery, Mrs. J. B. Powers, Mrs. Jas. Bennett, Miss Mary Bagg; to Elmwood, Mrs. Dr. Williams, Miss Martha Hoff; to Fairview, Mrs. M. Parrott, Miss Lane.

     In the Waterloo cemetery the following graves were decorated:
     Capt. F. S. Washburn, N. R. Ordway, J. M. Braninger, H. S. Braninger, W. H. Parker, S. Little, H. Barron, J. H. Cutter, W. Truesdale, W. Nichols, F. L. Ayers, J. B. Allman, A. Baker, W. Boston, B. Harris, W. Nocton, E. Lichty, G. Butler, H. Vogel, C. K. White.

     In Elmwood cemetery the following received floral tributes:
     Rev. A. G. Eberhart, H. M. Conger, Mrs. A. Milne, Dr. O. Peabody, M. D. Scroggy, S. J. Scroggy, J. H. Myers, Erastus Austin.

     In Catholic cemetery the following graves were decorated:
     Matthew Neuman, Matt. McDermott, W. J. Wilmeroth.

     In Fairview cemetery, on the east side, the graves of the following persons were decorated:
     C. Hale, J. Hale, E. Balcomb, N. Strong, G. Mears, W. Mears, L. Baltzer, C. Brayton, A. M. Cox, J. P. Hayes, E. Neary, Wm. Galloway, J. Meggison, J. McDonald, Jas. Owens, Geo. Tillotson, Elias Hicks, O. J. Lichty.

     The exercises were closed by suitable prayers and benedictions by the chaplains at the several cemeteries. -- Taken as a whole the day was a success, the weather was all that could be asked and the citizens of the city and vicinity attended in very creditable numbers, and evinced an interest in the ceremonies which was very acceptable to the O. C. D.'s and others who had the exercises in charge.